As a young mom of four children, two of whom have disabilities, including severe intellectual impairment, I ask God tough questions. I imagine many ministry leaders wonder some of the same things I do, but fear asking. It’s natural to wonder and it’s okay to ask. It’s in wrestling with such questions, pressing into Jesus in prayer and exploration of His Word we not only find answers but gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus intended the Church to be.
God has used my blindness to others in so many ways. In my ability as a songwriter, I’m able to describe things in a deeper way than people who can see. I show people trust-in-action as I follow other people’s directions. Most of all, I think I’m able to show people that, despite my being totally blind and using a power wheelchair, there is still joy.
The church in this story has no official disability ministry, no “program.” They try very hard to organically meet the needs of individual families who worship there. This is a church-in-progress. It’s a church family becoming an increasing reflection of Christ; God is growing fruit. They realize there is a lot they don’t know or understand. And they’re excited to learn and grow as a community.
How can each follower of Jesus pursue justice for people with disabilities? We see in David a paradigm when he meets Mephibosheth. In 2 Samuel 9, we see David exemplify three simple practices that can help combat injustice and inequity for people with disabilities.
I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that the prayers and time spent seeking God determine the outcome of ministry and special events. Everyone working in the space of special needs or mental health ministry needs to stay prayed up, in God’s Word, for guidance, wisdom, and protection. Make no mistake, the work of all special needs ministry, including ministry to and with people whose disability is revealed in behavior, is very much intertwined with the battle over whose life holds value. Anyone working in this space is on the front line of the battle between darkness and light.